Blind, Black And Blue

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20180318

Gary O'Donoghue asks why so many early blues musicians in America's Deep South were blind.

Exploring music, history, science, philosophy, film, visual arts and literature.

There were many real blind, black bluesman, scraping a living in the Deep South a hundred years ago. From Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson on opposite street corners in Dallas to Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller in Georgia and the Carolinas, the early 20th century saw blind bluesmen playing everything from the lewd, raw blues of the juke joint to the God-fearing spirituals beloved of the new wave of Southern churches and with a musical legacy that's lasted through the decades.

How did this group of blind musicians, faced with all the disadvantages of race, segregation, disability and poverty, manage to achieve celebrity in their own day and leave such a lasting mark on the history of American music?

Gary O'Donoghue, who is blind himself, explores the elements of race and culture that made this phenomenon possible.

Presenter, Gary O'Donoghue
Producer, Lee Kumutat
Sound Engineer, Peter Bosher
Every member of the production team who made this programme is blind.

Editor, Andrew Smith

Blind Willie's Shades written by Doug Ashdown played by Tommy Emanuel
Blind Willie McTell - Come Round to My House Mamma
Blind Willie McTell - Statesboro Blues
Jontavious Willis plays Willie McTell's Broke Down Engine Blues
Willie MmTell - Atlanta Strut
Blind Willie McTell - Baby It Must Be Love
Blind Willie Johnson - His Blood Can Make Me Whole
Blind Gary Davis - Samson and Delilah
Blind Boy Fuller - I'm a Rattlesnakin' Daddy
Blind Gary Davis - I Heard The Angels Singing
Blind Gary Davis - 12 Gates to the City
Blind Gary Davis - Lord I Wish I Could See
Bill Ellis playing Blind Gary Davis' If I Had My Way
Blind Mississippi Morris playing live.

There were many real blind, black bluesman, scraping a living in the Deep South a hundred years ago. From Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson on opposite street corners in Dallas to Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller in Georgia and the Carolinas, the early 20th century saw blind bluesmen playing everything from the lewd, raw blues of the juke joint to the God-fearing spirituals beloved of the new wave of Southern churches and with a musical legacy that's lasted through the decades.

How did this group of blind musicians, faced with all the disadvantages of race, segregation, disability and poverty, manage to achieve celebrity in their own day and leave such a lasting mark on the history of American music?

Gary O'Donoghue, who is blind himself, explores the elements of race and culture that made this phenomenon possible.

Every member of the production team who made this programme is blind.
Presenter, Gary O'Donoghue
Producer, Lee Kumutat
Sound Engineer, Peter Bosher
Editor, Andrew Smith.